African American Female Adolescents' Perspectives Regarding Their Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs While in Foster Care: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

Ross, Christina, Nursing - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Kools, Susan, NR-Nursing: Faculty, University of Virginia

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy have been a significant issue in the United States and youth of color are significantly affected. Vulnerable youth, such as youth in foster care who have experienced adverse childhood events (ACEs) are at an increased risk for experiencing negative sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes. A gap in knowledge exists regarding the perspectives of female African American Adolescents in foster care about their SRH. This descriptive qualitative study used primary data from 16 adolescents to explore and describe older adolescents with a history of foster care placement perspectives regarding the complex factors that contribute to their SRH disparities. Findings indicated that youth perceived a lack of support, yearned for connection and often learned about SRH independently. History of sexual abuse, reproductive coercion, and perceived judgmental caregivers were some factors that made it challenging for youth to protect themselves against SRH risks. Contrary, open communication with caregivers, abstinence, and the self-desire to be healthy were some health-protective factors identified. This dissertation adds knowledge regarding youth’s perspectives on SRH communication. Findings will provide direction on how health-care providers, child welfare workers, policymakers, community leaders, and caregivers can better support the SRH of youth in care.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Sexual and Reproductive Health, Adolescent Health, Foster Care, Nursing
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